'I love Sandwich': West end businesses invest in historic community

Thursday, October 5, 2017

CBC News Windsor




'I think it is the best place to invest in Windsor'

Windsor's oldest neighbourhood is enjoying a new lease on life, say business owners in Sandwich Towne.

"Sandwich is a really great area," said Luna Wang, 26, who has transformed an historic post office built more than a century ago into a hip and happening study spot. "I love this building and the neighbours."

Wang purchased the property at the corner of Sandwich and Mill in 2014 and has watched a downtrodden Sandwich rise all around her. She caters to a steady stream of international students from the University of Windsor and residents looking for a quiet spot for a cup of tea. Business has been so brisk that she's opened a second cafe on Wyandotte closer to the university. 

Across the street from Wang's Post Cafe, Jason and Nicole Sekela are putting the finishing touches on a sparkling new brewery, the result of a two-year $1-million dollar renovation project. CBC Windsor News at 6 with host Arms Bumanlag will broadcast live from that location Thursday night.

"It's been a crazy two years, a lot of sacrifice and lots of money but, in the end, we're investing in the area and we can say we built a brewery," said Nicole. "I love Sandwich and this community will continue to grow."

Jennifer Hazelton took a risk in Sandwich two years ago and purchased Westside Foods, a neighbourhood grocery store she has refurbished on the north side of Sandwich next to Rock Bottom. It's worlds removed from the life she left behind in Toronto and Hazelton likes it that way. 

"I love it here in Windsor," she said. "I love the people."

Hazelton has been working hard to expand her business and solidify its roots in the community. She is creating partnerships with local restaurants and has introduced a number of vegan and gluten-free products.

Hazelton bought a home in Sandwich shortly after she arrived. An investor bought it from her, renovated it and put it back on the market. That's a sign, Hazelton said, that Sandwich is rising. 

"People that are coming here are people that want to work, people that support the community," she said. "I am pretty excited about the future and what is to come in Sandwich Town … I think it is the best place to invest in Windsor."